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Former Rookie of the Year Lennie Pond dies at age 75

Lennie Pond

Lennie Pond, the 1973 Rookie of the Year in NASCAR's premier series, died on Wednesday at age 75 of complications of cancer, a family spokesperson said this morning.

Pond, a native of Ettrick, Virginia, raced for 17 seasons in NASCAR's premier series with 234 career starts, one win, 39 top fives, 88 top 10s and five pole positions.

 

NASCAR released a statement that read: "NASCAR extends its condolences to the friends and family of Lennie Pond, a true racer and for decades a fixture at Virginia short tracks -- where he was a five-time Late Model champion. Throughout his career, Lennie boasted accolades including the 1973 premier series rookie of the year title and a Talladega win, but it was his passion for speed, competition and racing that made him a favorite among fans and fellow competitors alike."

Pond's only career win came in the 1978 Talladega 500 while driving for Harry Ranier at a speed of 174.7 mph, the fastest 500-mile win in motorsports at that time.

He finished fifth in the final Cup standings in 1976 and seventh in 1978.

In 1973, Pond beat out Darrell Waltrip in a spirited race for the Rookie of the Year title. Pond finished 23rd in the final Cup standings that season; Waltrip was 28th.

In 1976, Pond was the winner of the ARCA 200 at Daytona. Pond was also the runner-up in the NASCAR National Sportsman Championship behind Rene Charland in 1965 and a five-time champion in Virginia Late Models.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. was among those with a NASCAR connection who honored Pond via social media Wednesday:

 

 

 

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